Fairfax Media Network

Weather News

Water use restricted in NZ's parched capital

By New Zealand correspondent Dominique Schwartz, Friday March 15, 2013 - 19:07 EDT

Stringent water restrictions will come into effect in Wellington at the weekend as northern New Zealand struggles with its worst drought in decades.

New Zealand primary industries minister Nathan Guy on Friday declared the entire North Island officially in drought.

"It's probably about 30 years since we've had a drought of this size covering all of the North Island," Mr Guy said.

The government is offering affected farmers financial help and counselling services.

Dr Brett Mullan from the National Climate Centre says it is the most severe drought in the north and north-east of the country in more than 75 years and could become more common.

"Basically the tropics expand under global warming, high pressure belts move down and intensify in the summer," he said.

The ANZ bank estimates the big dry is likely to cost the country at least $1 billion.

Rare water restrictions - including a complete ban on all forms of garden watering - are being introduced in Wellington, which has not had any rain for six weeks and has supplies for less than 20 days.

The last dry spell of that duration was in the 1870s.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

More breaking news

ABC News
Sydney Morning Herald
National Nine News
News Limited

Display Your Local Weather

Weather News

Rain welcome but many in western Queensland 'still doing it tough'

21:28 EDT

Rain in parts of western Queensland in the past week has raised hope that the drought may finally be over, but the long, dry years have already devastated pastures and wiped out incomes for many farming families.

Solid central Australian rain a bonus as pastoral company progresses with drought-proofing strategy aimed at selling heavier cattle

17:06 EDT

A Central Australian pastoral company says recent solid rain across its five cattle stations is a welcome bonus as it continues with a drought-proofing strategy.

Tropical Cyclone Tatiana intensifies, may bring dangerous swell to Queensland coast: BoM

16:18 EDT

Queensland's first cyclone of the season poses no immediate threat to the coast but may whip up dangerous swells for south-east beaches early next week, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) says.